If your home movies include footage of local scenes and activities, they very likely have preserved valuable historical information even without intending to. Cameras were often hauled out of the closet for major events such as building dedications, inaugural ceremonies, homecoming celebrations featuring celebrities of the day, or annual festivities surrounding holidays. But less “noteworthy” occasions can be of even greater value — children playing in a local park, merchants painting a new advertising sign by hand, the bustle of a farmer’s market before the supermarket chains came to town.
Relatively few historical centers have staff trained in the preservation of film materials, but their archival training will lead them to resources that will enable them to add moving-image technology to their collections and exhibits. (And you can direct them to CHM for support!) If they are interested in keeping copies of your material, they should ask you to sign a donation form that allows them to display your footage and deploy it as stock footage. If they are also interested in preserving your originals in their vaults, you should be careful to secure an agreement document that provides you and your descendants the right to access these materials for further transfers as technology evolves over time. In this case you must also employ a strategy at home for transmitting awareness of these materials to your children.
Certain archives that have show exceptional dedication to the preservation of home movies are listed in our Resources section.